Style
Photo via Fenty Beauty's Twitter page.

How Fenty Beauty Is Leading the Inclusion Conversation for Black Women

And doing so while making us look FABULOUS.

Rihanna proves that Fenty Beauty is deeper than just makeup. "The new generation of beauty" is redefining the way in which women of color are represented in popular culture, and also revolutionizing the consumer experience for women with darker complexions. Fenty Beauty's mass success can easily be measured in sales, but it's the 29-year-old pop icon's vision of inclusion that's challenging the outdated ideals of beauty in media as we know it.


Fenty Beauty beautifully encompasses today's millennial woman in the most unapologetic, disruptive way possible. This is huge for the average girl who thinks her lips are too big to rock a bold red lipstick, or for the girl who tirelessly searches to find the perfect shade to match her deep-dark complexion. We all look to trends to help us decide what's hot and what to purchase, but in beauty, what happens when the brands you patronize don't celebrate or even acknowledge women with bold ethnic features like yourself, or women with kinky hair like yourself, or women who wear a hijab like yourself?

The beauty industry is a space historically dictated by a standard of "perfection," one that is viewed by many as unrealistic and unattainable. To make matters worse, imagine never being able to readily find makeup or cosmetics that match your skin tone, just because it's deeper than "dark tan." Welcome to a struggle that many black women know all too well.

Fenty gives us images that celebrate every woman, but most importantly those with dark skin, freckles, bold features, and textured hair that would otherwise never be seen. This is the moment that all black women have been waiting for—a brand that celebrates and embraces our beauty, propagating images that allow us to look in the mirror everyday and be confident in knowing that the world sees our true beauty.

While a few high-end cosmetic brands have done their due diligence by expanding their foundation shade offerings (most notably Make Up For Ever, NARS and Lancôme), if you're not prepared to drop $50 on a one ounce bottle of foundation, finding a wide array of shades at a fair price point was virtually out of the question before Fenty Beauty launched in early September. The brand offers 40 shades of its Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, with every shade from paisley, pale light to deep, dark brown. At $34 for 1.08 ounces, Pro Filt'r sits at a cozy price point right in between drugstore and high-end.

Black women finally have a brand that we can believe in because it was crafted with all of our uniquely beautiful tones in mind, but our love for Fenty runs much deeper than lipgloss and highlighter. The first look at Fenty Beauty was released only 7 days before the actual launch of the brand with a trailer highlighting women of all shades and ethnicities. Most notably featured were Australian-born Sudanese model Duckie Thot, African American model/influencer Slick Woods and Somali-American model Halima Aden, all recognized for their vastly unique features.

In the guerilla-style video, we see the Fenty girls fiercely navigating the streets of a busy urban city, all serving strikingly appealing looks. With their glossy lips accentuated, we eventually see the women holding what will come to be known as Gloss Bomb, one of the brand's hero products. What's so amazing about the simplicity of the video, though, is the fact that every single model is wearing the same lip gloss and it looks amazing on every shade of woman featured.

This is the guiding principle behind why I think Fenty Beauty has been so immensely successful. It's an ode to every woman: I am perfection. You are perfection. We are perfection. Rihanna would later go on herself to say that she wanted to make beauty line that looks good on women of all skin tones, with all of her diverse friend groups in mind. She did just that. And it turns out that the well-crafted range of universally flattering offerings for is exactly what black women needed. Plus, girl power is a little easier to stan for when you're actually included in the celebration. Just check out how these Fenty fans stanned for one another following the launch of Fenty's fan-favorite red lipstick, STUNNA.

Rihanna and her team are single-handedly cultivating the conversation around the shift in "modern beauty" and who gets to be included in it. Fenty Beauty's cult community embodies women of all backgrounds, shades, shapes and styles, and the millions of diverse women who make up its tribe are the result of what it means to be genuinely inclusive. Brands are finally recognizing the importance of diversity, and we're here for it. It's important that we see positive, authentic images of ourselves—especially taking into account that total black buying power is projected to peak at $1.5 trillion by 2021, according to Nielsen. We need brands to stand behind who position us at the forefront, not who appropriate our culture then treat us like an afterthought.

Fenty's newest launch is set to drop today, December 26. The brand will be debuting 14 bold and fearless shades of its Mattemoiselle lipstick, all which embody the singer's eclectic style. With a reported $72 million in its first month of sales, a slew of honors including 'Launch of the Year' by Women's Wear Daily and 'Invention of the Year' by Time Magazine, plus 2.5 million followers, I think it's safe to say Fenty Beauty and its celebration of #BlackGirlMagic is here to stay.

*

Khalah Morris is a digital marketing professional, freelance writer and diehard Chicagoan. She spends most of her spare time relishing over the latest in hip-hop & urban culture, fitness, beauty and dog pages on Instagram.

Arts + Culture
'Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman,' 2017, from Fortia. By Keyezua, photo courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery.

Our 9 Favorite African Visual Artists of 2018

We look back at the contemporary African visual artists who caught our eye this year.

This year, African visual artists have done their due diligence to carve their own path leading to creative autonomy, authentic storytelling and straight up greatness.

From photography and film, to even mixed-media art, the following have produced stand-out work that deserve their due accolades.

Feast your eyes on our nine favorite African visual artists of 2018 below.

Keep reading... Show less
Style
Image via Beyoncé's Instagram.

Here's Every African Designer Beyoncé Wore During Her Trip to South Africa

"Thank you to the talented African designers who kept me feeling fresh. Y'all go so hard," the singer wrote on Instagram.

Beyoncé opted for bold colors and rich patterns during her trip to South Africa earlier this month for Global Citizen Festival, making a vibrant fashion statement with every outfit she was spotted in.

During her performance, the singer sported an ancient Egyptian-inspired beaded body suit, a bodice designed similarly to traditional Zulu jewelry and an emerald green ensemble made in collaboration with South African designers Enhle Mbali Maphumulo of Manual Rossa Apparel and Quiteria & George—but she rocked African-made looks off the stage as well.

In an Instagram post today, Queen Bey shared a slideshow of some of the striking outfits she rocked while in South Africa, and gave a shoutout to the designers behind them. "Thank you to the talented African designers who kept me feeling fresh. Y'all go so hard," wrote Queen Bey.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Still from Youtube

These Nigerian Songs Broke YouTube and Google Records in 2018

Davido's "Fall" has set another YouTube record, while Wizkid's "Fever" was the most googled Nigerian song.

Nigerian music had a big year, and the numbers prove it.

After becoming the most watched Nigerian music video on YouTube earlier this month, the video for Davido's hit song "Fall" has set a new record, becoming the first Nigerian music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube.

The music video, which was uploaded in 2017, edged out Yemi Alade's memorable 2014 video for "Johnny," which currently sits at 98 million views to claim the title.

READ: Best Nigerian Songs of 2018

Last time we checked in, "Fall," directed by Daps, was sitting at just over 98 million views as well, which means it gained 2 million new views in just 2 weeks, as Konbini points out.

Davido - Fall (Official Music Video) youtu.be

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.